Mathura, 2017.02.24 (VT): Shiva Temples across Vraj became the centre of attraction as thousands of people stood in long queues since early in the morning to offer prayers to Lord Shiva on Maha Shivratri.
Devotees thronged the Pancha (Five) Shiva Temples of Vraja; Bhuteshwar in Mathura, Gopeshwar in Vrindavan, Chakleshwar in Govardhan, Nandeshwar in Nandgaon and Kameshwar in Kamyavan (Kama).
Devotees congregated in large numbers inside Shiva Temple premises across Vraj to offer worship and prayers. All the prominent Shiva Temples were decorated with flowers and illuminated with lights, while several temples organized ‘jagran’ to entertain the devotees on this occasion.
The authorities made elaborate security arrangements in all the main Shiva Temples for smooth conduct of darshan and worship.
Vrindavan was gripped with the fervor of Gopeshwar Mahadev. Residents and the pilgrims from outside of Vraj worshiped Gopeshwar Mahadev with milk, water and Bilva leaves.
Devotees in Vrindavan also worshiped Bankhandi Mahadev, which is another famous deity of Shiva, which used to be visited by Shrila Sanatan Goswami. It is said that anyone visiting Vrindavan is required to take permission of Gopeshwar Mahadev to enter the ‘Raslila abode’ of Lord Krishna.
It was not just the city residents, but also people from other adjoining areas who came over to be a part of this religious fervor. One popular element of celebration was the ‘Kanwar Yatra’. A few days prior to Maha Shivratri, one could see an unending stream of Kanwarias walking on the road, carrying elaborately decorated bamboo structures called ‘kanwars’ with containers of Gangajal dangling from both ends. It is indeed natural to get fascinated by their staunch devotion for Lord Shiva.
The kanwariyas came one day before the festival in Vrindavan, with water from the Ganges. They took bath in Yamuna, and offered the Ganges water to Gopeshwar Mahadev. Then they marched towards the other temples of Vraj with their ‘Kanvar’ slung across their shoulders, carrying covered water pots.
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